1. (+3) Chicago Fire (WDDWW)
The mid-season wobble seems to be firmly behind the Fire as they continue their weird hoodoo-hold over the Revs. I can just see some Chicago equipment manager yoinking the arms off a bald voodoo doll to make Reis completely whiff on that long-range Segares strike. Strong at the back, variety in attack, and McBride on the way--this may be your team to beat. Putting a hurting on struggling DC next weekend would be both a statement of intent in the league and a revenge beatdown for the loss at Toyota Park earlier in the year.
The Playoff Pack
2. (-1) New England Revolution (DLWWL)
Ding, dong, the witch is dead! Joseph and Reis, normally the Revs' Mr. Reliables, toss up some whopper brain-farts and let the Fire steal a game that Nicol's boys seemed to have under control. Still, Twellers is back healthy and amongst the goals, and their slender one-point lead in the table is accompanied by a game in hand. Recovery may only be a week away with a visit to the new-look Quakes.
3. (-1) Houston Dynamo (DDDWW)
Tough week to have a bye. The Fire go top by virtue of beating the Revs, but the Revs impressive point total and the close nature of the game aren't enough to drop them below Houston. Their return to league action is massively important, as the Dynamo entertain RSL in a battle for the top spot in the West.
4. (-1) Real Salt Lake (LDWDW)
Much like Houston, RSL are the victims of a bad week to have a bye. The question will be: can the Western Conference leaders hang onto their narrow advantage? Houston's recent play, as well as RSL's fickle road form, raise major doubts about next weekend's Top O' The West clash.
5. (+2) FC Dallas (DDDWW)
I'm still not convinced that Dallas have what it takes to be a real threat this year, but recent results have been improving, it looks like they'll hang on to key man Cooper, and Hyndman isn't afraid to make roster moves that he thinks will help his team. What remains to be seen is if Sikora can adapt to MLS and if Cunningham can avoid becoming a malignant tumor. It's back to action this week with a trip to Columbus.
6. Columbus Crew (DLDWL)
Off for the week, but not inactive, as they pick up the returning Noonan. The Crew's season is poised on a knife's edge. Their early season form has them in a good league position, but recent results have them looking decidedly vulnerable. The recovery has to start this week against Dallas, or the rest of that scrum that's occupying the middle of the table will start to drag them down from behind.
7. (-2) DC United (WWLWL)
DC's hopes of putting the SuperLiga debacle safely behind them are dashed by the Red Bulls. Last week's shutout seems miles away for a defense that still has massive question marks plastered all over it. The injury crisis is easing, but United will have to contend with a packed schedule, including the Open Cup, MLS, and CONCACAF Champions' League, as they mount their post-season charge. Are there enough horses in the Black-and-Red stable? After a mid-week Open Cup outing against the Revs, it's off to Chicago for what might be a make-or-break game in United's season.
8. (+1) Kansas City Wizards (WDDLW)
Wow, a 3-0 lead with less than 20 minutes to go and the Wiz almost blow it. Fortunately for Onalfo's boys, the undermanned Goats can't quite find a third goal (though they certainly had the chances) that would have made for a decidedly unfair point. Another potential softball gets lobbed their way this week with a trip to Colorado.
Bum-sniffing Omega Mutts
9. (+1) New York Red Bulls (LLDDW)
The long, long winless streak comes to an end in a satisfying 4-1 drubbing of rivals DC United. Angel is clicking again, and that's good news because keeping the goals out hasn't been the big problem--sticking them in the opposition net has. Osorio's new signings will make their weight felt over the next couple of weeks, starting with TFC next Sunday. Will they be enough to ensure a playoff spot?
10. (-2) Chivas USA (DWDLL)
So, which Chivas side do we put our money on for the rest of the season? The one that went meekly to a 3-goal deficit? Or the one that came roaring back and nearly netted three in a 20-minute span to grab an unlikely draw? Thornton is no Guzan, but he's a solid veteran netminder, and Kljestan will be returning from the Olympics for the stretch run. I still think that Chivas have a run of results left in them, but will it come soon enough to save their playoff bacon? The LA Derby renews this week with the Galaxy desperate for results. Unfortunately for Chivas, they're in much the same boat.
11. Toronto FC (LDLLW)
The long winless streak finally comes to an end. Could Barrett actually be the answer to a question other than "who is the most unreliable finisher in MLS"? TFC should be counting their blessings that the Rapids looked as if they could go all day without finishing, despite being the dominant side. Next week, it's the road show again, this time in the swamps of Jersey. A second straight road result would go a long way towards boosting their position on the Pile.
12. (+1) San Jose Earthquakes (LDDDW)
Off for the week, but the Rapids dropped yet another result at home, thus giving the Quakes a friendly boost. We'll see how long the lofty #12 spot holds with the Revs coming to town.
13. (-1) Colorado Rapids (WDDLL)
Way to go Fernando! DC's draft stock keeps rising on the back of Clavijo's losing ways. To be fair, the Rapids were dominant, outshooting the Reds almost three-to-one and putting five times as many shots on goal. But if you can't stick them in the net, what good is dominance of possession and chances? A loss to visiting KC next week should see Clavijo get canned, but then, he should have been handed his walking papers long ago.
The dumpster diving Galaxy appear to be polishing off a shiny new defender in Gibbs, but how long will his injury-prone body hold up, assuming that he's completely healthy right now? If he can rediscover the form that got him onto the national team stage, the Galaxy might be on the slow road to recovery. If not (and this is my suspicion), it's only going to get uglier.